January 31, 2004

thanks to all who prayed.

thank you if you prayed. things went smoothly.

i am no longer dating, but the Lord worked it out so that we both walked away not too badly hurt. keep praying tho.

Posted by hill at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2004

caution.....bumpy road ahead.

caution....entering bumps in the road of life ahead.

proceede with caution and much prayer.

speed limit VERY SLOW.

precautions to take...have people pray and pray much.

trust in God. know that according to ephesians 1 my salvation and my life has already been preordered by Someone who loves me more than mom, dad, mer, drew, grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, friends...etc.

he cares more than all these and more.

Posted by hill at 11:21 PM | Comments (1)

January 27, 2004

the passion

a while back i got an interesting email from some guy in virginia that questioned a statement of mine on either kammer's or joy's blog. my statement was that i hoped that from this movie, the passion, that mel gibson would be saved from it.

he thought that gibson was saved because he was making the movie. i refuted all that he said with the fact that the Bible says that by our fruits we will know and others will know if we are christians. i don't see fruit in gibson's life, but then again i don't follow it very closely.

has anyone found anything out about a profession of faith?

here is a link to a trailer site for the passion. the four minute one is the best.

Posted by hill at 10:34 AM | Comments (1)

January 22, 2004


here is an article that was written by someone that breaks the great divorce down a little. as it is with all my reading, the book i am currently on occupies much of my thinking. so here is more.

The Great Divorce:
C.S. Lewis's Divine Comedy
by Kathryn Lindskoog

C. S. Lewis beamed, then said "It's my Cinderella." I had just told him how much I loved The Great Divorce. He said he didn't understand why Screwtape Letters got all the attention when The Great Divorce was so much better.

Some readers have called The Great Divorce Lewis's Divine Comedy, and for good reason. In both stories, the author/narrator journeys from Hell to Heaven, meets a variety of people along the way, and discovers that in the afterlife unredeemed souls are not solid; they are ghosts. In both books the redeemed are radiant "solid people." At the end of both books the pilgrim returns to earth to resume his life and tell readers what he has seen and heard.

The Bus Driver

There are other connections between Lewis's Great Divorce and Dante's DIVINE COMEDY as well. On July 30, 1954, two years before I talked with Lewis, he wrote to an American reader named Mr. Kinter. "The closest conscious connection to Dante in G. Divorce," he said, "is the angel who drives the bus: eg - Inferno IX 79-102."

All Lewis said about "the angel who drives the bus" down into the twilight city in The Great Divorce was "The Driver himself seemed full of light and he used only one hand to drive with. The other he waved before his face to fan away the greasy steam of rain.... he had a look of authority and seemed intent on carrying out his job."

Dante said little more than that about his own angel that came down through the dark air and thick fog of the fifth circle of Hell: ...He kept waving the thick air away from his face with his left hand, and that was all that seemed to require any effort. I could tell that he was a heavenly messenger. I turned to my teacher, and he signalled me to keep quiet and bow down to him. He seemed to be full of scorn [for Furies guarding the gate of Dis]. He reached the gate and touched it with a wand to open it; there was no resistance.... Then he turned and retraced his path through the filth, without a word to us; and looked like one concerned about matters different from the ones at hand.

In his 1962 preface to The Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis spoke of Dante's angels: "In Scripture the visitation of an angel is always alarming; it has to begin by saying 'Fear not.' The Victorian angel looks as if it were going to say, 'There, there.' The literary symbols are more dangerous [than sculptures and pictures] because they are not so easily recognized as symbolical. Those of Dante are best. Before his angels we sink in awe."

Some readers also sink in awe before Lewis's angelic Driver and take him for the Holy Spirit or Christ. David Clark makes a good case for the latter interpretation and concludes "Jesus is the only possible identity of the One he is describing." (See "'Only One Has Descended into Hell': Who Is the Bus Driver in THE GREAT DIVORCE?" in The Lamp-Post of the Southern California C. S. Lewis Society, Vol. 23, Number 2, Summer 1999.) But if Lewis's busdriver represents Jesus, then Lewis must have taken Dante's angelic helper in the Inferno to be Jesus; and there is no record in Lewis's letters or his essays about Dante that he held such a revolutionary opinion. If he had, it seems he would at least have said so to his friends Charles Williams and Dorothy Sayers, both Dante experts. David Clark does not address this problem.

Sarah Smith

In his 1954 letter to Mr. Kinter, Lewis continued: "The unsuccessful meeting between the 'Tragedian' and his wife is a sort of pendant to the successful meeting of D. [Dante] and Beatrice in the Earthly Paradise."

In The Great Divorce Lewis describes the Tragedian's wife, Sarah Smith. She had no high position or prominence in her first life, but in Heaven she is a great saint: "Love shone not from her face only, but from all her limbs, as if it were some liquid in which she had just been bathing." She is brisk, candid, and beneficent, with a sense of humor and no sentimentality. She has come all the way down from the mountains of Heaven to the Valley of the Shadow of Life to meet her husband Frank and escort him to the mountains; but he refuses to go. The real inner man has been taken over by a grotesque Tragedian persona that is all manipulative ego.

Likewise, on earth Beatrice had no high position or prominence, but in Heaven her face is indescribably radiant with love. She is brisk, candid, and beneficent, with no sentimentality. She came all the way down from the Empyrean to meet Dante in the Earthly Paradise (see Canto 30 of Purgatory) and escort him to Paradise; and although she rebukes him, he eagerly goes with her. In Canto 31 of Paradise he sees her back in her assigned place in the Empyrean, on a throne in the third row from the top.

Ironically, Lewis biographer A. N. Wilson has completely misread Chapters 12 and 13 of The Great Divorce. He claims "Perhaps none of Lewis's portraits is more cruel than that of the figure of Dante himself, who ... is represented as a dwarf leading the other part of himself, the Tragedian, round on a chain ..." Sarah Smith is definitely a Beatrice figure, but the Tragedian is definitely not a Dante figure. Instead, he shows what Dante might have been like if he had been an idolator on his way to Hell.

There is in fact a person similar to Dante in The Great Divorce, a person sometimes foolish and sometimes fearful, but always eager to learn. That person is C. S. Lewis, the narrator. And just as Dante wrote his favorite author, Virgil, into Divine Comedy to be his guide, C. S. Lewis wrote George MacDonald into The Great Divorce to be his guide.

Meeting a Mentor

Lewis and MacDonald meet in Chapter 9. Lewis says "I tried, trembling, to tell this man all that his writings had done for me. I tried to tell how a certain frosty afternoon at Leatherhead Station when I first bought a copy of Phantastes had been to me what the first sight of Beatrice had been to Dante: Here begins the New Life."

Dante and Virgil met in Canto 1 of the Inferno. Dante said, "Are you Virgil, then? Are you that fountain which pours forth so rich a stream of words? ...O light and glory of other poets! May my long years of study and great love for your poetry help me now. You are my teacher and my favorite author; you alone gave me the noble writing style that made me a successful poet." (Shortly after Dante's death, the author Boccaccio claimed that Dante was predicting at the beginning of his Comedy that it would become a great epic like Virgil's Aeneid.)


Shortly after meeting MacDonald, Lewis asked him how Ghosts could visit Heaven and whether any of them could possibly stay. "Aye," MacDonald answered. "Ye'll have heard that the emperor Trajan did." According to a medieval tradition, after the virtuous pagan emperor Trajan spent time in Hell he had a chance to enter Heaven and stay there. Lewis would have read about this in Dante's Comedy. In Canto 10 of Purgatory Dante recounted the kindness of Trajan to a widow, and in Canto 20 of Paradise he located Trajan in Heaven: "...the one closest to the beak consoled the widow for her son. Now he knows from his experience of this sweet life and its opposite the price of not following Christ."

Quoting an Author

Lewis pressed MacDonald farther. "But I don't understand. Is judgment not final? Is there really a way out of Hell into Heaven?" MacDonald answered "It depends on the way ye're using the words. If they leave that grey town behind it will not have been Hell. To any that leaves it, it is Purgatory. And perhaps ye had better not call this country Heaven. Not Deep Heaven, ye understand."

Lewis added in parentheses, "Here he smiled at me." This is a hint to readers that Lewis (the author of the story) was being playful when he had MacDonald say this to Lewis (the protagonist in the story). In fact, "Deep Heaven" was Lewis's term in his interplanetary fiction.

Dante also caused one author to quote another in his fantasy. In Canto 15 of the Inferno Dante greeted his teacher Brunetto Latini. (Brunetto was a scholar and statesman who lived in Florence when Dante did, but died five years before Dante allegedly journeyed to Hell and discovered him there.) Dante said, "If I had my wish, you would not yet have left the human race. For I have in my memory, and now it goes to my heart, an image of you that is dear, kind, and fatherly, when back in the world, from time to time, you taught me how a man achieves immortality. As long as I live, it is fitting that my tongue should express my gratitude for this." Dante is echoing these words from Brunetto's own book Le Livre dou Tresor. So it is that Dante (the author) put one of his mentors into Hell, visited him, and affectionately quoted his own writing to him there.

The Amplitude of Heaven

In The Great Divorce and Dante's Divine Comedy the protagonists have ascended vertically for immeasurable distances into, in Lewis's words, "a larger space, perhaps even a larger sort of space, than I had ever known before."

"All Hell is smaller than one small pebble of your earthly world: but it is smaller than one atom of this world, the Real World. Look at yon butterfly. If it swallowed all Hell, Hell would not be big enough to do it any harm or to have any taste."

"It seems big enough when you're in it, Sir."

"And yet all the loneliness, angers, hatreds, envies and itchings that it contains, if rolled into one single experience and put into the scale against the least moment of the joy that is felt in Heaven, would have no weight that could be registered at all. Bad cannot succeed even in being bad as truly as good is good. If all Hell's miseries together entered the consciousness of yon wee yellow bird on the bough there, they would be swallowed up without trace, as if one drop of ink had been dropped into the great Ocean to which your terrestrial Pacific itself is only a molecule."

In Canto 30 of The Divine Comedy Beatrice has led Dante up past the planets and the stars, beyond the entire universe and into the Empyrean that envelopes it. (As C. S. Lewis observes in his essay "Imagination and Thought in the Middle Ages," the Empyrean is not the boundary of space in the absurd sense of there being more space beyond it; instead, it is the point at which the spatial mode of thought breaks down. ) Beatrice tells Dante, "We have ascended from the largest sphere into the Heaven of pure light -- intellectual light, abounding in love; love of true goodness, abounding in ecstasy; ecstasy that surpasses every sweetness."

In conclusion, although the title of Lewis's Cinderella is a response to William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the content is inspired by Dante's masterpiece.

Posted by hill at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

on art.

cs lewis wrote a book called the great divorce. i think his views and beliefs come out in this work more than any other he has written that i have read so far. his anglicanism (i think that is a word.....maybe not....) shows up very clearly and much that he says about heaven and hell is obviously incorrect, but he has a passage about art.

the context is a man is on a bus trip from hell (or purgatory, i haven't figured out which yet.) to heaven or the outter limits of heaven. in heaven they show up as ghosts. the ghosts have the option of staying in heaven if they travel to the fountain that cleanses all in the mountains. there are angels there to guide them to the fountain. the main character witnesses all these interactions between different ghosts and angels that they knew down on earth. one interaction is between a famous artist ghost and an angel. here are several quotes from the book.

"when you painted on earth--at least in your earlier days--it was because you caught glimpses of heaven in the earthly landscape. the success of your painting was that it enabled others to see the glimpses too. but here (heaven) you are having the thing itself. it is from here that the messages came. there is no good telling us about this country, for we see it already. in fact we see it better than you do."

"'...if you are interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you'll never learn to see the country.'

'but that's just how a real artist is interested in the country.'

'no. you're forgetting,' said the Spirit. 'that was not how you began. light itself was your first love: you loved paint only as a means of telling about light.'"

and my personal favorite...

"ink and catgut and paint were necessary down there, but they are also dangerous stimulants. every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about him. for it doesn't stop at being interested in paint, you know. they sink lower--become interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputations."

Posted by hill at 09:29 AM | Comments (2)

January 15, 2004


how many times do i allow my pride to get in the way of the Lord's working?

God, please forgive my pride.

Posted by hill at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2004

in a moment of boredom try this....

sing all stanzas of amazing grace.

but to the tune of gilligan's island.

Posted by hill at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrg! i missed it!


hillary is an idiot.
she missed ben kammer's birthday.

happy happy LATE birthday
you are the bomb
you so cool.

(to be sung to bethoven's 5th symphony)

Posted by hill at 06:06 PM | Comments (1)


please pray. this boy was a friend from high school. his brother graduated with merideth, my sister and his family is a good godly family. there are three surviving brothers mike, tim, and nate. his parents also survive him.

i don't know funeral dates yet.


Posted by hill at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2004

a christian?

after finding several references to God, Jesus and Biblical references in her books, i decided to try and find out what denomination madeleine l'engle was really. because massed in with God and his Son was references to several leaders of different "faiths". this is what i found.

on her website, she has a book called Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. there was a link to her church where she served as librarian and something else for thirty years. here is a brief statement of "faith."

Greetings from this great Cathedral in the light-filled City of New York. We endeavor to be a beacon of hope and light, built as a Cathedral for all people. We welcome persons of all faiths, cultures and races. The dream that inspired the construction of The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine was that it would be a roof under which all sorts and conditions of folk would feel safe as we discuss the issues of our time. Together we can make that kind of difference. May our worship, learning more about God, and service to others keep the Star burning brightly for you and those you love!

The Very Reverend Dr. James A. Kowalski, Dean

Posted by hill at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2004

messing again!

don't mind the mess. i will be playing around for a while. any ideas on what colors we want?

Posted by hill at 09:46 PM | Comments (0)